OPINION: Emotions boiled over on election night

Were you up for Mandelson? Amanda Platell, William Hague's chief

spin doctor, was and his embarrassing performance would have made her

laugh on what was a miserable night for the Tories. Believe it or not,

Amanda has always been a friend - though I confess that now that the

election is over I feel much happier talking to her than I did during

it. Although I thought her decision to work for Hague was wrong, I did

have a sneaking respect for her.

Amanda was a tenacious tabloid journalist and editor, who once followed

me to a restaurant where she thought I would be meeting Gordon Brown and

his then new girlfriend Sarah. She even gatecrashed our private meal in

order to meet Gordon's future bride, not forgetting to tip off her

snapper at the same time. I forgave her because the resulting publicity

did my then boss no harm at all.

Perhaps our friendship formed because Amanda and I have both fallen foul

of Peter Mandelson. Immediately after Labour's first election landslide,

Mandelson told Tony Blair to get rid of me. He couldn't, of course,

because Gordon wouldn't let him. But I don't think that Brown will ever

forget that when he was first appointed Chancellor, Blair was more

concerned with sacking me than what Brown wanted to do with the Bank of

England. Thankfully, Mandelson failed to get his way and I enjoyed two

years working in the Treasury.

However, Amanda Platell's brush with Mandelson led to her losing her job

and goes some way to explaining why she decided to work for Hague.

As editor of The Sunday Express, she took the rap for a story written by

my BBC 5 Live Sunday Service colleague Andrew Pierce. This revealed for

the first time the identity of Mandelson's 'partner' Reinaldo. Through

his contacts at the BBC, Mandelson had forced the Corporation never to

mention that he was gay, even though this was public knowledge. He was,

however, furious that his secret lover had been exposed by a newspaper

owned by his friend Lord Hollick and demanded the head of Platell.

Amanda was duly sacked and the rest is, as they say, history.

I tell this story because on election night and morning I saw both

Amanda and Mandelson on TV. Amanda was in tears as Hague announced his

resignation and even Hague's bitterest enemies could not feel a flicker

of sympathy for him.

I could not help compare Hague's dignity having suffered such public

humiliation with Mandelson's arrogance earlier in the night. His pompous

rant slagging off his many enemies and electoral opponents was

undoubtedly the most telling moment of a dull evening's viewing and told

us all we need to know about the double disgraced former spin doctor. TV

veteran Michael Brunson called his speech 'ill judged'. That was a kind

comment, as most political commentators don't think Mandelson has any


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